The State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board reports that Farmington Hills lawyer Susan L. West has received a 180-day suspension from the practice of law in Michigan, effective June 20, 2014.
West failed to answer the formal complaint, and did not appear at her disciplinary hearing. Attorney Discipline Board Tri-County Hearing Panel #53 found, by default, that West neglected a probate matter; failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing her client; failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of her matter; failed to comply promptly with reasonable requests for information; and failed to refund any advance payment of fees that had not been earned. The panel further found that West failed to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of her client; knowingly failed to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority; and failed to answer a request for investigation.
The panel ordered West’s suspension from the practice of law in Michigan for 180 days, and directed her to pay restitution of $10,741.00 and costs of $1,661.54.
An attorney who has received a suspension of more than 179 days is not eligible for reinstatement until the attorney has petitioned for reinstatement, and has established by clear and convincing evidence that:
(1) he or she desires in good faith to be restored to the privilege of practicing law in Michigan;
(2) the term of the suspension ordered has elapsed or 5 years have elapsed since his or her disbarment or resignation;
(3) he or she has not practiced or attempted to practice law contrary to the requirement of his or her suspension or disbarment;
(4) he or she has complied fully with the order of discipline;
(5) his or her conduct since the order of discipline has been exemplary and above reproach;
(6) he or she has a proper understanding of and attitude toward the standards that are imposed on members of the bar and will conduct himself or herself in conformity with those standards;
(7) taking into account all of the attorney’s past conduct, including the nature of the misconduct which led to the revocation or suspension, he or she nevertheless can safely be recommended to the public, the courts, and the legal profession as a person fit to be consulted by others and to represent them and otherwise act in matters of trust and confidence, and in general to aid in the administration of justice as a member of the bar and as an officer of the court;
(8) he or she is in compliance with the requirements of subrule (C), if applicable; and
(9) he or she has reimbursed the client security fund of the State Bar of Michigan or has agreed to an arrangement satisfactory to the fund to reimburse the fund for any money paid from the fund as a result of his or her conduct. Failure to fully reimburse as agreed is ground for vacating an order of reinstatement.
Michigan Court Rule 9.123(B)